Read Our Special Feature: Voices from Afghanistan
Baran  ·  Afghanistan


Diary of An Afghan Woman

Edited by Nicole Taylor
Illustration by Sarah Jane Dayley
Baran Avatar with text

My Husband’s Family - September 21, 2021

My husband’s sister is named Fateme [name changed]. In addition to being my sister-in-law and cousin, she is also a good friend to me. We have had a good relationship since childhood. She is a good and kind girl. She is married and has a son named Sohail [name changed]. Her husband had worked with the Americans for several years and worked in one of the offices before the Taliban took over. His life was in danger after the arrival of the Taliban because he had relations with the Americans.

Because he worked with the Americans and went to the United States for a few months for a project, he was emailed by the US government that he could go there with his family. Everything was ready but the flights were stopped. He is currently hiding in one of his relatives' houses and fears he will be killed if the Taliban arrest him.

Fateme and her son are at their mother's house. They are waiting for the flight to leave. These days she looks broken and upset. She is worried about her husband and is afraid of what will happen if someone finds out about her husband. My auntie is also very worried. But we have no choice but to wait.

I hope we will all be saved soon.

My Husband - September 19, 2021

My husband is currently in a difficult situation. He is unemployed and spends all day at home. He was a man who did not like to be at home at all but liked to go to work and work.

Now he only goes to football (soccer) two or three days of the week.

He is worried about our future. He hopes we can get out of here soon to build a better future for ourselves.

On the other hand, he is worried about his family, his father, mother, and sister. But his family fully understands us and wants us to live in a safe place.

My husband is a kind and generous man. ☺️ He always likes to help others if he can. He always tries to be a good boy for her parents and a good husband for me. 💕

No One Knows How I Feel - September 16, 2021

As you know all human beings have problems in their lives or feel afraid of something. This is a normal thing; life is not without problems. Everyone has to fight for something. We have to fight for a happy life.

Like everyone else, I sometimes feel sad, frustrated, or scared. When I'm very upset, I like to be alone and not talk to anyone. I do not have the patience to talk or do anything. Most of the time I cry, I feel comfortable crying and I feel empty. Or I like to listen to quiet songs.

Woman Cry
Sketch by Elizabeth Benson Thayer
Most of the time when I'm sad and crying, no one knows how I feel.

After that, when I meet someone, they see me with a smiling face, I think this is my strength. ☺️

My Mother - September 14, 2021

The strongest woman I have ever met in my life is my mother. She has faced many problems in life and has overcome each of them. Imagine a woman with four children coming back to her father's house and taking responsibility for raising them alone. This is certainly a problematic way. But my mother did it in the best way. She raised her daughters, went to work, took care of the house, and continued to take good care of her ailing parents. I am really proud to have such a mother and I ask God to make her always happy and healthy. In these few weeks, she is very worried about Noor and still about my father's reaction. But I'm sure this problem will end too. We believe in our mother and pray for her. 💐💕

My Light - September 14, 2021

Yes, (pregnancy) is a strange feeling. Sense of happiness. 🥰
I went to the doctor this morning and she said everything is fine and there is nothing to worry about. Sometimes I feel very good that a little man is going to be added to us. I imagine how pleasant his laughter is. But sometimes I feel afraid that I will not be able to provide him with a good life or that he will not be able to grow up in a safe environment. But I hope that one day everything will be fine, we will get rid of these problems and we can live happily. It has always been said that after a dark night is a bright day, I believe in this. 🌱🌸🌻

My City Is Not The Same - September 10, 2021

I went out to the store with my husband today. The whole city was Talib, with long clothes and rough faces. I was wearing a long coat, one of them looked at me with a strange look, I did not pay attention. The city is very different from the past; it is empty, people do not go out much. There is silence everywhere. Sometimes I feel scared.

My city is no longer the same. All our neighbors are trying to sell their homes’ equipment, so they can get out of here. No one wants to be under Taliban rule.

My husband and I are always worried about ourselves and our family. We are constantly talking about how to get out of here. We are in great danger. My husband has been a court clerk. I do not know what will happen if the Taliban are informed. You know my mother’s case well, too. Hasti told you about my father. I have been at my mother's house since the day Noor left because they were alone. I returned to my house today because my husband’s sister will go to Kabul tomorrow. I'm here but worried about my mother and Hasti. They are alone tonight. My mother was not very well, she was very worried about Noor. Maybe they will have to go to Kabul soon because of my father, nothing is known yet.

PLZ don’t forget us in your prayers. 🙏🏻🌺

On Aunties and Grandparents - September 8, 2021

I have four aunties. My older aunt lives outside of Afghanistan. Every few years she and her family came to visit. I am always happy to hear news of them and I was looking forward to seeing them. I am close to her daughters. They are like my sisters. But now, with the arrival of the Taliban, I do not know when they can come to us, maybe they will never come here again because they are very afraid of the Taliban (and they are right). One of my aunties (the second) is also my mother-in-law. We live in a house with them. She is a very kind woman, she loves me. My other two aunties are here too. I like my little aunt the most. She is a very kind and compassionate woman. She shares with us in sorrow and joy. Auntie is to me like Mother, compassionate and kind. I'm happy to have four very kind aunties and I love them all very much.

I have lived with my grandparents since I can remember. My grandfather was a wonderful man. I liked him very much. I was separated from my father as a child. And I did not see my father's love. But my grandfather gave me that love. He was a very kind man. When I was little, he would tell me stories or draw on my booklet. In the last years of his life he was very sick and old. He was short of breath and was coughing constantly. I was very upset to see him sick and I prayed that he would get well soon. He was an angel, my compassionate angel.

My grandmother is a great woman. Strong, compassionate, and selfless. She has taken care of me and my sisters since childhood. She took care of us when my mother went to university. She has worked very hard for all of us. I like her stories very much. She has been telling me stories of ancient times when she was a young girl. She is uneducated and illiterate. She was married as a child and became a mother at a young age. She was constantly busy with having children and hospitality. Now she is so weak she can't even stand on her own. She is constantly sick. My mother takes good care of her. My sisters and I help her to walk. I'm sad to see her in this situation. I hope she does not get worse.

I am proud of my grandmother, my mother, and my aunties. Each of them faced many difficulties in life, they never failed and did not give up. 💕

September 7, 2021

I have received some questions about whether I remember when my mother was pregnant with my sisters, how close I am to my sisters and what memories I have. Below is what I said about them.

As you know, we are four sisters. My older sister is called Sara, she is five years older than me. I am the second sister. After me, is Noor, who is two years younger than me. And our littlest sister is Hasti. I'm eight years older than her. I was young when my mother was pregnant with Noor and I do not remember anything from that time. I only remember my mother being pregnant with Hasti. I have very happy memories from that time. I was happy when I heard that a little one was going to be added and that our family was going to get bigger. We all wanted my mother's baby to be a 'boy' because we did not have a brother. But when we found out she was a girl, we were not upset at all. We knew God wanted it that way.

During the last months, when my mother's belly was enlarged, I stared at it every moment and waited for my sister to be born. I do have one interesting memory from that time that I want to share with you.

One day, some guests came to visit and the children were playing with me and Noor. I wanted to hug one of the guest's babies who had just been born, but his brother, who was my age, would not let me. I cried and went to my mother and told her everything. She put her hand on her belly and kindly said, "Do not be upset, you will hug your sister soon." I was very happy and did not cry anymore.

When it was time for Hasti to be born, my mother was taken to the hospital, and Noor and I did not go. My older sister Sara cooked food for my mother and those in the hospital. Then my father took us all to the hospital to see my mother. When we got there, my grandmother was hugging Hasti and I asked her to give me Hasti. I felt very good when I hugged her for the first time. She was very small and sweet. I did not want to return home from the hospital that night.

I am very close to my sisters and I love them all from the bottom of my heart.

Our older sister Sara has been like a mother to us. She noticed us all at all times. From our clothes, to our food, to our lessons.

Most of all, I am close to Noor. We spent our childhood together. We would play and were together wherever we went. Even our clothes were the same color. We had a lot of fun together. Now that we are older, we are as close as ever. We share in each other's sorrow and joy. And in every situation, we want to support each other. She is my best friend.

I saw Hasti's childhood with my own eyes and watched while she grew up. I saw it when she first walked or spoke. She is the beauty of our home. We all love her very much.
I pray to God that my mother, my sisters and I will always be happy. I wish them all the best.

September 1, 2021

My name is Baran. I am 22 years old and I am a housewife. I am a student of English Language and Literature at a university in Afghanistan. (I do not know at this time whether I can continue my education or not, as the fate of women under Taliban rule is still unknown).

My husband is an employee of the court in our province. Our life was good before the Taliban came. I could go to university and study and my husband worked. I could go out in my spare time and have fun with my friends.

Unfortunately, a month or more has passed since the arrival of the Taliban. Everything changed with their arrival. All my dreams were shattered and I do not know what will happen to me, my husband, and my child. (I am pregnant and I will hug my son in a few months). I'm very worried about my baby's future, I do not know if we can provide a good life for him here.

Many years ago, I asked my mother about the Taliban. I wanted to know what happened to my mother and other relatives twenty years ago when the Taliban came to our country. My mother was upset to hear the name, Taliban, but has been telling me stories since then. She could not study under the Taliban and had to stay at home. My mother was upset that she had not been able to study for years and achieve her dream of being a nurse. I was very upset to hear my mother say this and hated the Taliban.

When I was in the second year of university, our professor gave us a novel to read, The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini. It is an Afghan novel and very interesting. One part told about the Taliban and their atrocities. Tears flowed from my eyes as I read each line. They were vile and savage human beings. They beat women and had no mercy on children. When it was over, I said to myself, "thank God the Taliban are gone and we will not experience that bitter life." But it was not long before the Taliban recaptured our country. I feel very bad and life has become meaningless for me. I do not want to spend the rest of my life under the domination of such cruel people. I pray every day that this nightmare will pass and I can be happy again.

God, please hear my voice and save us all.

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